Definition of eristic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈristik/


1Of or characterized by debate or argument.
Example sentences
  • While most of this dialogue is given over to Euthydemus’ and Dionysiodorus' eristic display, there are two Socratic interludes.
  • In the early history of television, program producers could afford an eristic assumption that they were message purveyors to a receiver-only audience.
  • According to Schopenhauer Eristic Dialectic is mainly concerned to tabulate and analyse dishonest stratagems, in order that in a real debate they may be at once recognised and defeated.
1.1(Of an argument or arguer) aiming at winning rather than at reaching the truth.
Example sentences
  • In Eric Ambler's prewar thrillers, the interest (in Auden's words) is ‘the ethical and eristic conflict between good and evil, between Us and Them.’
  • The squaring of the circle by means of lunes is not eristic, but the quadrature of Bryson is eristic.
  • Eristic dialogue is arguing for the sake of conflict, fighting, and often to see who can yell the loudest.


1A person given to debate or argument.
Example sentences
  • Moreover, we know by the evidence of Sokrates himself, that he was an Eristic not only by taste, but on principle, and by a sense of duty.
  • An ancient comic writer has said of him: Eubulides the Eristic, who proposed sophistic dilemmas and confounded the orators with false and pompous arguments, is gone with the vulgar and useless chatter of Demosthenes.
1.1The art or practice or debate or argument.
Example sentences
  • Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote a marvelously cynical manual of eristics called The Art of Always Being Right.
  • In the dialogue Euthydemus, Plato satirizes eristic.
  • It has now fallen to the level of Eristics, in which the winner of a debate is the one who shouts the loudest and has the best arsenal of insults.



Pronunciation: /-(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • If we'd been crafting the performance/presentation this week, I'd have been thinking more eristically.
  • It seems you are going against scholarly consensus in belittling the importance of the decree only because you must do so eristically and strategically to downplay the timing of the annuity.


Mid 17th century: from Greek eristikos, from erizein 'to wrangle', from eris 'strife'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: er·is·tic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.